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Thread: capitalism and the human psyche

  1. #1 capitalism and the human psyche 
    Forum Freshman chicken_boy's Avatar
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    Capitalism to me seems to be a natural development for humans.
    It's almost the only economical system where each person has an alleged equal chance at success.
    But is society built the right way?

    If we look historically on the psychological side of it, capitalism was a way to let people have free competition, it was a way to let people do what they wanted.
    It was a natural economical system that arose because of peoples need to have competition and to have their shot at doing what they wanted.
    But things didn't end up as planned, because monopolies occured, and suddenly the rich became richer and the poor became poorer.
    These days, capitalism is dead hard. You see it everywhere.
    But really, will humans allow any other system unless we rebuilt society under completely different terms?

    Each person when born into society, is getting pounded with the idea that you have to work to survive.
    You have to do your job in society, or get out.
    So then, a person doesn't have much choice, he must succeed to survive.
    Then we end up with a consumer environment, where each person buys other persons products, and if they don't like the product they go somewhere else.
    So obviously the one with the best product wins, and he becomes richer, while the other ones will go on to do other things.

    But do you think perhaps, that this is actually a good thing, or a bad thing?
    It's basically survival of the smartest, the original and the skilled ones.
    In some weird way, it actually contributes and makes everyone do a good job, not always, but many times we will see great products come out, and in some ways it brings humanity forward, but in return it eliminates the weaker ones.
    Is this the way we are supposed to live?
    If we want to end up as an intelligent, ever evolving race, then yes it is.
    If we want to focus more on humane ideas, and social issues, then it's not imo the right way to do things.
    We would need an equalizing apparatus of sorts, so that everyone could live happily and equally to eachother, and eliminate competition.
    Though that would eliminate any progress we could've made, but I ask you, is progress more important than the well being of a person?

    i'd like to add the topics of discussion;
    is capitalism destroying human rights? Is humanity living as good as it should? Is competition good or bad on a grand scale? Was this actually the only way humans could have evolved? Is this at the deepest level an after effect of biology and psychology?
    What does this tell us about humans?


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    Quote Originally Posted by chicken_boy
    Though that would eliminate any progress we could've made, but I ask you, is progress more important than the well being of a person?
    You are asking good questions, indeed analysing capitalism one finds many positive aspects, like the freedom to create and progress through competition. But if we look at reality many are missing the boat.
    Not every talent is equally rewarded in capitalism, as a scientist we can’t complain, even an average scientist is rewarded greatly, for his work. The talent of educating infants or psychological handicapped may be rewarding on its own, less rewarding in capitalistic terms.
    Indeed capitalism rewards progress and not human well being.

    To answer: I find well being more important. Does this mean I distend capitalism. No I stand for a corrected capitalistic system (which is the case nowadays, however the discussion remains which corrections are necessary and which ones go to far and totaly undermine the system).
    So its difficult to discuss your topic, capitalism in China, Europe or America is quite different.

    I’ll go into the rest when find more time


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    Quote Originally Posted by chicken_boy
    is capitalism destroying human rights?
    I find that human right have evolved much under capitalistic regimes, other regimes did not always walk in hand in hand with basic human rights. Further one can choose in a capitalistic system not to join, not to run in the ratrace, some of them still do fine others life under the bridge. So it is a human rights friendly system.
    Quote Originally Posted by chicken_boy
    Is humanity living as good as it should?
    Looking at the situation in Europe we are doing quite well:
    -Every body is treated when entering a hospital (they do not ask your credit card first)
    -If you got an addres and do find work, you receive minimum wages to live (very modest but just exceptable).
    So corrected capitalism works quite well in Europe, on the other hand trying to start capitalism in Africa is failing big. So I can’t say that humanity is living as good as it should.
    Quote Originally Posted by chicken_boy
    Is competition good or bad on a grand scale?
    No I can’t say it is, I think it’s quite impossible for Africa to compete with Europe and America, because the lack of industrial infrastructure in those countries. So I find it normal that that protective major are taking by those countries to protect their own economies.
    Regarding protectionism measures I’ll do some advertising for a topic of mine handling about protective measures in europe to protect human heath care and other “Post subject: Modern Protectionism in the section Business & Economics”.
    Quote Originally Posted by chicken_boy
    Was this actually the only way humans could have evolved? Is this at the deepest level an after effect of biology and psychology?
    I find live much to mysterious to conclude that this would be only way could have evolved (Meaning if this system does exists anything can). Furthermore look at recent history and other ideologies could have dominated the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by chicken_boy
    What does this tell us about humans?
    More then half the human population (I am guessing) is living in poverty. And even I am not that harsh on capitalism, so what tells this about humans, that think we (all) are doing fine when we (ourselves) are doing fine.
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  5. #4 Re: capitalism and the human psyche 
    Forum Freshman thequ1ck's Avatar
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    'You can't con an honest man'.
    Capitalism breeds greed and allows
    people to be exploited whilst blaming
    themselves.

    Theodore Adorno :
    The total effect of the culture industry is one of anti-enlightenment...the progressive technical domination of nature, becomes mass deception and is turned into a means for fettering consciousness
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  6. #5 Re: capitalism and the human psyche 
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    Quote Originally Posted by thequ1ck
    'You can't con an honest man'.
    Do you believe this to be an absolute?
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  7. #6 Re: capitalism and the human psyche 
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    I don't believe in absolutes but if I did then I would
    say that this was an absolute.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by thequ1ck
    'You can't con an honest man'.
    Do you believe this to be an absolute?
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    We must have different definitions of what a 'con man' is.

    I consider myself to quite honest (you might ask, who doesn't). A few years ago, while checking train times at an interchange railway station I was approached by someone ostensibly wanting to know which platform to take for a train to Amsterdam. While I was addressing this, and his follow on questions, as to train frequency, etc. his partner was making off with my laptop.

    So, I was well and truly conned, but I don't think my lack of honesty had anything to do with it. Arguably, my intrinsic trust in others might be seen as a sign of honesty, rather than its lack.
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    You were just robbed, rather than conned. A full-blown con trick ("Big Con" in the trade) invariably uses the greed and dishonesty of the victim. The only people who fall for the Nigerian email scam are the people who believe they're going to get 25% of some plane crash victim's $10m fortune.
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    con (3) - entymology
    "swindle," 1889, Amer.Eng., from confidence man (1849), from the many scams in which the victim is induced to hand over money as a token of confidence. Confidence with a sense of "assurance based on insufficient grounds" dates from 1594.



    [quote="Ophiolite"]We must have different definitions of what a 'con man' is.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    I think capitalism or free enterprise is a necessary and important ogran in the life of the human community, even though I am not a very successful participant myself. I agree with the author and the founding fathers of the United States that the operation of natural laws of supply and demand are important for a healthy human community. However, I think there is also something quite important missing from the human community (or several such somethings). It seems to me to be an incomplete organism teetering on the brink between life and death.

    Greed seems to be a natural state of the human being. Capitalism doesn't inspire greed. That is there to start with. Capitalism simply empowers people to act on their greed. But there does seem to be some need for a couter-balance on the motivations of the people. The pursuit of money does inspire productive means to fulfill desire. But desire without limit leads to evil (when desire exceeds the regard for the well being of others). So there is a need for something to inspire in people a regard for others that works as effectively as money does for desire.

    Religion tries to play such a role but it does not effectively reach enough people with this inspiration. It takes only the greed of one person in a company (running off with the pension plans or selling out the company) to bring misery to the lives of many.
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    How do you arrive at this conclusion?? What type of machine do
    you think we are?

    noble savages, machines with ghosts in them or blank slates?

    . (ref. Stephen Pinker - The blank slate)

    [quote="mitchellmckain"]
    Greed seems to be a natural state of the human being.
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  13. #12  
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    [quote="thequ1ck"]How do you arrive at this conclusion?? What type of machine do
    you think we are?

    noble savages, machines with ghosts in them or blank slates?

    . (ref. Stephen Pinker - The blank slate)

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Greed seems to be a natural state of the human being.
    I don't think people are machines at all. They are qualitatively different. Machines are dead. People are alive. But everything which is alive, whether it is a bacteria, plant, animal or human are qualitatively much the same and the difference is mostly quantitative. I am saying that life is a measurable quantity and a human being is much much more alive than a bacteria.
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    Yet you imply that we are subject to genetic programming and not social programming (capitalism). Where is your proof??


    [quote="mitchellmckain"][quote="thequ1ck"]
    I don't think people are machines at all. They are qualitatively different. Machines are dead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thequ1ck
    Yet you imply that we are subject to genetic programming and not social programming (capitalism). Where is your proof??
    How do I imply this? This does not sound like anything I would say. And I do not see how one kind of programming would make us more of a machine than another.

    Our programming is all self programming. What you call genetic and social programming are all input but we decide what input ultimately means and what role this input plays in our personality and actions. Of course many people are lazy and let this crap control their mind without conscious thought or rational filtering, but that laziness is also their choice and responsibility.
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    And the laziness is not a consequence of genetic or social programming?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    And the laziness is not a consequence of genetic or social programming?
    Yes, if you are lazy. So ultimately no. Laziness allows further laziness to become a habit. It is addictive or habit forming, but many if not most choices we make are like this.

    Take the traditional roles of male and female. Women, whether they are mothers or wives tend to "socially program" the males in their family to be lazy in regards to basic necessities in life like cooking and cleaning. Even when the the male has been trained to be somewhat capable in these activities a little bit laziness in regard to these activities is enough for the enthusiasm of the female(s) in these activities to turn this little bit of laziness into a full blown habit. This can be a bit embarrassing when the male concerned is strongly opposed to being locked into such roles and is concerned that his sons may grow up without even mediocre skills in these activities. Being a victim of exactly this situation in my home, I know what I am talking about. However, do you really think that social programing is to blame or my laziness?
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  18. #17  
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    You seem to be confusing laziness with division of labour.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    You seem to be confusing laziness with division of labour.
    Oh come on! There is no confusion here! I am not attacking traditional roles here! If you want to live that way, go ahead, no problem! But not every ones life fits into this traditional picture perfect image. I grew up in a liberal culture trying to break this traditional mold. Is it really that hard to put yourself into my cultural framework temporarily just to comprehend the example I am making?

    Sometimes you really fustrate me. Look, I don't intend to accuse you of anything here. I am just explaining my emotional reaction. It is my problem and maybe you don't care, but maybe, just maybe you can help. You throw out these accusations like "confusing" and "emotive arguments wrapped in a thin skein of logic" without even trying to justify them. They blind side me because I cannot see where in the world they are even coming from. I see so justification. Ok, yes I am "emotive", but the truth is that we are all emotional beings and at least I admit it. Trying to pretend otherwise seems dishonest and self-delusional. At least I attempt to use logic. At least I give reasons for my statements. Is that really wrong?
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  20. #19  
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    You appear to be stating that if someone chooses not to engage in a particular activity, for example, washing up, changing fuses, then they are lazy. I simply do not see the examples you have given as in any way describing laziness, but simply adherence to a division of labour principle. I am not speaking for, or against that, merely speaking of it, and noting it has bugger all to do with laziness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    You appear to be stating that if someone chooses not to engage in a particular activity, for example, washing up, changing fuses, then they are lazy. I simply do not see the examples you have given as in any way describing laziness, but simply adherence to a division of labour principle. I am not speaking for, or against that, merely speaking of it, and noting it has bugger all to do with laziness.
    Ok, apparently you cannot see things from my cultural framework, so let me try a perfectly parallel example. (I mean I thought my example would be amusing and ironic, but oh well).

    Take politics. An effective democracy requires intellectual involvement. Political groups are trying to manipulate public opinion so they use the techniques of advertising to hit people's consciousness under the radar so to speak. They get people to look at issues from an oversimplified perspective in order to get them to support their point of view without really thinking. You may think of this as social condition toward political laziness. But I am saying that this really only works if you are at least a little lazy in political thought in the first place. Politics can be really very tiresome. Filtering out the muck of lies and misdirection can be boring and taxing. This would tend to make us a bit lazy with regard to really getting at the truth of an issue and it makes it very tempting to take the bait of simply following the lead of these political groups making our little bit of laziness in to a full blown habit.

    Instead of just taking pot shots can you please just give me an example of what you mean by socal conditioning of laziness? I mean, I hardly expect you to accept the above view of politics and I am not deluded into thinking that I have given an mathematically perfect proof of anything so that fact that you can poke logical holes in it means nothing. I know you enjoy that and that you think you are encouraging better logic, but I think you are just encouraging silence because there is no such thing as perfect logic when talking about complex human problems, and I am not sharing your enjoyment.
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    In the UK criticisms are being made that the news programs are dumbing down their political analysis (and everything else for that matter). This appears to me to be true, and let us assume it is for the purposes of this discussion.
    The average viewer was challenged to think by the harder hitting, more analytical new programs of the 70s and 80s. This encouraged them to think analytically when they heard news, even before it was subject to such analysis. Today they are not given this 'training' and so they exhibit the laziness of analysis you spoke of.
    Social conditioning, social programming, by virtue of a change in the character of news broadcasts has induced an increase in laziness in the general viewer.


    On secondary issues:
    Please stop accusing me of taking pot shots, when I am not. I do not take pot shots. I may employ pithy, vigorous observations, designed to highlight weaknesses in your argument. Those are considered and deliberate, characteristics I do not associate with pot shots.

    I won't be held responsible for your discomfort at attacks I may make on your logic. Incomplete logic (acceptable) is quite different from imperfect loguc (unacceptable).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    In the UK criticisms are being made that the news programs are dumbing down their political analysis (and everything else for that matter). This appears to me to be true, and let us assume it is for the purposes of this discussion.
    The average viewer was challenged to think by the harder hitting, more analytical new programs of the 70s and 80s. This encouraged them to think analytically when they heard news, even before it was subject to such analysis. Today they are not given this 'training' and so they exhibit the laziness of analysis you spoke of.
    Social conditioning, social programming, by virtue of a change in the character of news broadcasts has induced an increase in laziness in the general viewer.
    I would have to guess that by dumbing it down you mean it started providing answers instead of asking question? Only by creating the illusion that the truth was being supplied without effort, would I think of this dumbing down as social conditioning of intellectual laziness.

    I would assume then that by "condintioning" you don't necessarily mean anything intentional. You seem too level headed to be suggesting a conspiracy, and you did not mention any such conspiracy. The dumbing down, I suppose, can simply be explained by the tendency of a capitalist system to give the consumer what he wants? Perhaps as the television has become more and more common in every home, the average intelegence of the viewership has dropped.

    Anyway I stand by my assertion. Anyone willing to let the tv news do their thinking for them is simply not willing to put in the effort to find the truth, especially if the truth is not actively being covered up. Laziness can easily be encouraged to become a habit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    On secondary issues:
    Please stop accusing me of taking pot shots, when I am not. I do not take pot shots. I may employ pithy, vigorous observations, designed to highlight weaknesses in your argument. Those are considered and deliberate, characteristics I do not associate with pot shots.

    I won't be held responsible for your discomfort at attacks I may make on your logic. Incomplete logic (acceptable) is quite different from imperfect loguc (unacceptable).
    Interesting. Our perception of what constitutes a pot shot obviously differs in some respect. I mean we seem to agree that the pot shot is some sort of ill considered attack. Where we disagree is in how the distinction should be made. Of course I cannot read your mind so I don't really know what your criterion is but two possibilities suggest themselves. Perhaps you think that the pot shot is identified by the faulty logic which it displays or perhaps you think the pot shot is simply an attack without thought behind it. I think the pot shot is identified by the lack of any reasoning or any attempt to justify the attack. The pot shot is a game term refering to an attack which is unfair because it displays no skill or is unassailable. When you make an attack without explaining the justification for your statement, you display no logic for the opponent to attack himself. It puts your opponent on the defensive and forces him to do all the arguing in his own defense, which just provides more material which you can attack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcia Hoffman From : Origin of the phrase taking pot shots?
    A pot shot is, etymologically, a shot taken at game merely for the purpose of having something to go in the dinner pot versus a skillful, by-the-rules shot taken for sport. The implication is one of the shot being very easy, with the game being near at hand or in an advantageous position for the hunter, so that the animal has no chance of escape or self-defense. This sense was later applied figuratively to any blow, physical or verbal, that was not easy to fend or avoid. Therefore, if someone is taking pot shots at you today (especially in the U.S.), he or she is engaging in a random or opportunistic verbal attack. The term dates in writing from 1858. The "random or opportunistic verbal attack" sense is first recorded in 1926.
    I think the later usage as a random attack comes from more extreme versions of this type of rhetoric. If you don't have to justify your attacks then the attacks can even be random and still do their job.

    I don't mean to imply that your attacks are random or that they don't have thought behind them. I am only saying that if your thoughts behind your attacks are not actually given in your posts then they are indistinguishable from pot shots.
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  24. #23  
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    You said - 'Greed seems to be a natural state of the human being. Capitalism doesn't inspire greed'.

    Are you referring to nature or nurture? What do you consider the
    natural state of the human being to be?

    To me the natural state is nature and the social upbringing is nurture.


    [quote="mitchellmckain"]
    Quote Originally Posted by thequ1ck
    Yet you imply that we are subject to genetic programming and not social programming (capitalism). Where is your proof??
    How do I imply this? This does not sound like anything I would say?
    There's a lot that takes place outside of logic.
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    Mitchellmckain a pot shot is - "a shot taken at an animal simply to kill for food," in other words, to get it in the pot, not for sporting or marksmanship. Extended sense of "opportunistic criticism" first recorded 1926.

    Ophiolite, Political analysis has to come from a stand-point to be of any value, otherwise we find ourselves whisked up pretty quickly into the political quagmire. Our stand-points may not be correct but it is these
    that we put forward for political analysis.

    If we use the analogy of crystallisation, what conditions would you
    change for the crystals of independent thought to grow?

    Temperature
    Concentration
    Impurities
    Potential
    Time
    There's a lot that takes place outside of logic.
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